Save John C Dunham STEM School
Save John C Dunham STEM School
Dear Valued Board Member,
We (Parents of STEM students) writing to you to voice our adamant opposition to closing the John C Dunham STEM Partnership School. It has been brought to our attention that this is a looming consideration on the board’s agenda.
This is not a simple outcry from parents who might be resistant to change; this is opposing the dissolution of an incredibly special school. Our STEM School is a school that unites young people who would have never otherwise met, a school that quite literally brings different communities together, and a school that provides an uninterrupted safe haven for accelerated learning to flourish. The latter of which is quite priceless.
The STEM school, while young, has left a lasting impact upon each of its graduates, and provided much more than further instruction: a tangible record to be used for admittance in further accelerated programs, immersion in a culture of acceleration, high expectations, and prestige, and it offers kids first-hand exposure to a great university, so they may come face to face with the possibility for higher learning themselves. They can imagine later attending college, instead of college sitting in their minds as a benign, abstract concept to which they cannot relate.
As a former student of this community some of us remember being severely bored in elementary school, where accelerated programs did not yet exist. From a very young age this caused disillusionment with the education system itself, and indeed authority. These sentiments can color one’s attitude and outlook for a long time, and directly affects the choices one makes on a daily basis. If there should be a decision, make it one that expands the program, or that adds a hybrid model of STEM classes within schools. Whatever you do, do not remove opportunities from our advanced kids, during a time in their lives where fortuitous learning intervention can have the utmost lasting impact upon their entire lives.
Dissolving this school will have greater implications for some students than others, and that is no secret to any of the parents, from any district. It sends the message of reinforcing unequal playing fields, where lottery and magnet schools have become progressive steps to equalize the educational landscape.
Many parents of this program have even foregone Magnet selection so their child may attend the STEM School, and will be greatly undermined by the probability of sending their child back to standard curriculum.
Moreover, without a solid plan, students who have become used to the higher expectations that John C Dunham demands of them, will no doubt be bored in the classroom. This, along with the feeling of being shuffled around, and perhaps even abandoned by their administration, may lead to feelings of resentment and disillusionment similar to what we described of ourselves above, that which is an experience all too common among smart kids who are not challenged, who then turn to the outside world to seek stimulating experience.
We, as parents and taxpayers, are awaiting your response to this letter. This will impact how we will vote on April 6th and the years to come.
Thank you very much for your time and your dedication to our kids and our community.